WATCH: How To Make Spicy California Maki

You'll enjoy this sushi with its spicy twist!

Going Japanese for lunch or dinner? Why don't you try a different take on one of the most popular kinds of sushi: the California maki recipe but with a spicy twist.   

The twist isn't in changing the ingredients. It's all about adding ingredients to make it even more special and delicious for anyone who wants a bit of heat to their sushi that's not wasabi. This version takes advantage of ichimi togarashi or Japanese ground chili pepper and a hot pepper sauce such as sriracha to deliver the heat. You can even swap the sriracha for another Asian red pepper sauce: gochugang or hot pepper paste. You still get the delicious sweet, refreshing, and hearty sushi you love with the burst of crab flavor from the crab sticks or kani. You also get some heat from the chili powder and spicy mayo that's on top. 

Plus, we show you how to easily roll sushi like a pro! Here's the recipe: 

Photo by Roselle Miranda
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Spicy California Maki Recipe  

  • Makes 6 rolls¬†
  • Takes 40 minutes

Spicy California Maki Ingredients 

  • 1 cup Japanese short-grain rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1¬†piece ripe mango, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, seeds removed and sliced into strips
  • 6 pieces kani (crab sticks)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ichimi togarashi (ground chili pepper)
  • 3 pieces nori sheets (dried seaweed), unseasoned
  • 1/2 cup masago (orange fish roe), or as needed
  • 1/4 cup Japanese mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or hot pepper paste

How To Make Spicy California Maki 

  • 1 Make sushi rice: Place Japanese rice and water in a rice cooker. Press "Cook" and cook the rice.
  • 2 Meanwhile, prepare the sushi rice seasoning: mix vinegar, sugar, salt into a small bowl. Mix well until the granules are dissolved. Set aside.
  • 3 Once rice is cooked, transfer¬†to a tray and spread out the rice. Pour sushi rice seasoning over the rice and mix well. Set aside to cool completely. (You can also use a fan to quickly cool the rice. This makes it shiny, too.)
  • 4 Roll kani sticks into the chili powder and set aside.
  • 5 Once ready to assemble, wrap the sushi mat with plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Fold and cut a nori sheet in half and lay the nori, shiny side down, on the bottom part of the mat nearest you. Using wet fingers, evenly press the cooled rice over the entire surface of the nori. Spread masago or fish roe all over the rice. Flip the rice and nori sheet over.
  • 6 Tear the crabstick in half, and arrange crabsticks, mango, and cucumber on the nori sheet.
  • 7 To roll, tuck your thumbs under the bamboo mat and use them to lift the mat and rice over the filling, while using your other fingers to hold it in place. Use the mat to continue rolling until you reach the end of the nori. Press the mat so the roll sticks together. Slowly peel away the mat. Use a sharp knife to cut the sushi roll. Place on a serving plate.
  • 8 To make spicy mayo, blend together mayonnaise and sriracha into a small bowl. Transfer to a small squeeze bottle if desired.
  • 9 Add a small dollop onto each sushi piece and sprinkle more chili pepper on top. Serve with soy sauce, more togarashi, more spicy mayo, wasabi, and calamansi as desired.


Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on by submitting your recipe here. is now on Quento! Click here to download the app on Android and IOS, and enjoy more articles and videos from us and your other favorite websites!

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